Laser Technology Developments for ESA’s Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA)

Chair: Azita Valinia – Co-Chair: Linda Mondin

The European Space Agency (ESA) is leading the development of the space-based gravitational wave detection mission, LISA, with NASA as a contributor. An ideal instrument for measuring gravitational waves over a broad band of frequencies is a laser interferometer with large arm lengths and long integration times. LISA consists of 3 spacecrafts acting effectively as a high precision Michelson interferometer in space, flying in an equilateral triangle formation with an arm length of 2.5 million km. One of the most challenging technology development elements for this mission is the development of the lasers with very high stability requirements. The technology builds on the successful LISA Pathfinder (LPF) technology demonstration mission which launched in 2015 and successfully demonstrated gravitational wave detection via this technique. This session gives an overview of the science and technology requirements followed by current R&D in progress in collaboration with several European and US entities. The session concludes with a summary of technology development tall poles and call for forming new partnerships that could enable overcoming today’s technology challenges.